Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research
‘Reporting and reproducible research: salvaging the self-correction principle of science’
Friday 12 October 2012, 12 noon, Freiburg, Germany
The fourth EQUATOR Annual Lecture, which will end our symposium, will be presented by Professor John Ioannidis, Professor of Medicine, Health Research and Policy, and Statistics, Stanford University. Professor Ioannidis is a highly distinguished scientist and outstanding speaker well known around the world for his original thoughts and efforts devoted to the improvement of biomedical sciences. We are very pleased to welcome Professor Ioannidis in Freiburg.
The ability of self-correction is considered one of the main features of science. In a cumulative meta-analysis framework, if sufficient time elapses, effects should tend to gravitate towards the “truth”. However, self-correction is often not happening. Self-correction is often impeded by destruction of evidence, production of wrong evidence, and/or distortion of evidence. Proper and accurate reporting of scientific data, results, and interpretations has a key role in ensuring that these impediments can be addressed in a satisfactory fashion. There is evidence from empirical studies that suggest that in several scientific fields reporting deficiencies can have considerable impact on the credibility of the available scientific corpus. It is also increasingly recognized that reporting of methods and summary results, even if optimal, may often not be sufficient to guarantee reproducibility for scientific results. Full availability of raw data, protocols, and analysis codes may need to be the goal for reproducible research. I will discuss some evidence and preliminary data on reproducibility checks in different fields, and offer some suggestions about steps to move forward as well as caveats about potential harms in trying to maximize reproducibility practices.
John P.A. Ioannidis currently holds the C.F. Rehnborg Chair in Disease Prevention at Stanford University and is Professor of Medicine, Professor of Health Research and Policy, and Director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center at Stanford University School of Medicine, Professor of Statistics (by courtesy) at Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences, member of the Stanford Cancer Center and of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, and affiliated faculty of the Woods Institute for the Environment. From 1999 until 2010 he chaired the Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, as a tenured professor since 2003. He is one of the most-cited scientists of his generation, with Hirsch h=97, Hirsch m=5.6, Schreiber hm=60 as of 2012 per GoogleScholar. He has received several awards, including the European Award for Excellence in Clinical Science for 2007, and has been inducted in the Association of American Physicians in 2009 and in the European Academy of Cancer Sciences in 2010. The PLoS Medicine paper on “Why most Published Research Findings are False,” has been the most-accessed and downloaded article in the history of Public Library of Science. The Atlantic selected Ioannidis as the Brave Thinker scientist for 2010 claiming that he “may be one of the most influential scientists alive”.
In a previous post detailing my time with the EQUATOR Network, I spoke about my work on the STrengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) statement. STROBE is one of the original “core” reporting guidelines which provides guidance...